Phi Beta Cons

Internet Threats and the Heckler’s Veto

So it looks like the “King of Queers” play I blogged about Monday has been canceled. According to a university drama professor, the school received a “staggering” number of calls and e-mails — some of them threatening — and the professor was concerned about “safety” and “security.”

FIRE is right; this is nothing more than a heckler’s veto. I take a back seat to no one in loathing the play at issue, but the answer — as always — is to respond to bad speech with better speech.

And there’s another answer as well: Don’t give in. Stop giving in to Internet and telephone threats. Stop it. You are empowering the crazies. If there are threats, that’s why we have the police and the Second Amendment. I know there’s risk (though, realistically, the real risk is almost vanishingly small), but liberty is worth risk.

As for those crazies who sent in the threats . . . congratulations, you are starting to look and act a lot like these people.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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